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5 Keys: Blues at Predators, Game 4

Nashville looks for lift from home crowd; St. Louis aims to limit chances by opposing defensemen

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent


9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports

Nashville leads best-of-7 series 2-1

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators will host the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of their Western Conference Second Round series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and will try to remain undefeated at home.

The Predators are 3-0 at Bridgestone Arena so far in the playoffs, including a 3-1 win against the Blues in Game 3.

St. Louis will try to avoid losing back-to-back games for the first time in the playoffs.

Here are five keys for Game 4:


1. Stop Nashville's defensemen

The Predators defense has made a noticeable impact on the series offensively. P.K. Subban, Ryan Ellis, Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm have combined for 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in the first three games of the series.

St. Louis will need to minimize the contributions that group can add to Nashville's offense.

"I think that they have very good defensemen over there, personally," Blues defenseman Colton Parayko said. "We talked about it before the series, and they do have a great corps of [defensemen] over there. It's definitely our job to try to limit that and make sure that we slow it down and get ourselves pushing forward."

Video: Roman Josi discusses Predators' home ice advantage


 2. Depth scoring

The Predators have had 13 different players who have scored goals in the playoffs. Center Colton Sissons has six points (two goals, four assists) in seven postseason games after having 10 points (eight goals, two assists) during the regular season.

"I think especially in the playoffs, it's important to have depth," Josi said. "I mean, our guys did a great job, and guys who maybe hadn't played before stepped in and have done a great job. I think that's what you need in the playoffs. You need depth, and you need scoring from different lines."


3. Home ice advantage

The Predators have won seven consecutive home playoff games dating back to Game 6 of their Western Conference First Round series of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Anaheim Ducks.

They have allowed four goals in three home games in these playoffs and have relied on the energy of the crowd to give them an extra boost.

"It's one of the best places to play in the NHL, there's no doubt about that," Sissons said. "I think everyone around the League is kind of getting to know that. We're having some pretty cool people sing the [national] anthems these days (including Carrie Underwood, wife of Predators center Mike Fisher), and the atmosphere is just great."

Video: Smashville is rockin' as the Predators eye the Cup


4. New lineup, new result?

The Blues are expected to have some changes in their lineup after the Game 3 loss, with forwards Zach Sanford and Magnus Paajarvi each likely to play.

Coach Mike Yeo is trying to find a lineup that helps the Blues play their style of game.

"For us, our game is not going to change," Yeo said. "We might make some tactical changes, some adjustments. We might make some personnel changes, but the essence of what we're trying to accomplish as a team and the game that we want to play is not going to change. What we're looking for is people that are going to help us get to that game."


5. Fast start

Yeo thought the Predators were able to get to their style of game quicker in Game 3 and set the tone. The Blues will try to change that narrative in Game 4.

The Predators didn't get off to a quick start offensively in the first five minutes of Game 3, but Ellis scored the first goal of the game in the first period. Nashville will try to use the energy of the crowd out of the gate and put pressure on St. Louis.

Video: Brian Lawton breaks down the Blues


Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Paul Stastny -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Magnus Paajarvi -- Patrik Berglund -- David Perron

Vladimir Sobotka -- Alexander Steen -- Zach Sanford

Scottie Upshall -- Kyle Brodziak -- Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester -- Alex Pietrangelo

Joel Edmundson -- Colton Parayko

Carl Gunnarsson -- Robert Bortuzzo

Jake Allen

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Jori Lehtera, Ivan Barbashev, Luke Opilka, Dmitri Jaskin, Jordan Schmaltz

Injured: Robby Fabbri (knee), Nail Yakupov (lower body)


Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson

Harry Zolnierczyk -- Mike Fisher -- Austin Watson

Colin Wilson -- Calle Jarnkrok -- James Neal

Cody McLeod -- Colton Sissons -- Miikka Salomaki

Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm -- P.K. Subban

Matt Irwin -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Anthony Bitetto, Brad Hunt, Vernon Fiddler, Frederick Gaudreau, PA Parenteau, Marek Mazanec, Vladislav Kamenev, Alexandre Carrier, Petter Granberg, Jack Dougherty, Trevor Murphy

Injured: Pontus Aberg (undisclosed), Kevin Fiala (fractured left femur), Craig Smith (undisclosed)


Status report

Steen did not participate in the morning skate but is expected to play. Paajarvi joined Berglund and Perron on the second line at the morning skate. … Smith practiced Monday and participated in morning skate Tuesday.

Who's hot

Tarasenko has two goals in the series and has scored three goals in his past four games. … Ellis has points in six consecutive games, the longest such playoff streak by a defenseman in Predators history, and has four points (two goals, two assists) in the series. 

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